20 Year Jail Term For Cote d’Ivoire’s Ex-First Lady Gbagbo
Former Cote d’Ivoire first lady, Simone Gbagbo has been found guilty by a criminal court for the post-election violence that rocked the country after the much-disputed election in 2010. The criminal court based in Abidjan has handed the ex-first lady a 20-year jail term. Mrs. Gbagbo was found guilty of creating armed gangs, participating in an insurrection and public disorder.
Her attorney Rodrigue Dadje told Bloomberg on phone that the prosecution was seeking a 10-year jail term.
“This is a political judgment, not a criminal judgment. A criminal judgment has to be backed by facts and evidence, but, in this case, there is no fact nor evidence. The political power has imposed this decision on the court.” Dadje said.
Mrs. Gbagbo, who is now 65 years old, alongside 80 others were brought to trial in December; on charges of participating in the post-election violence said to have claimed over 3,000 lives. Her husband, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to step down after losing the elections to Alassane Ouattara.
The United Nations and France intervened between the political standoff and widespread violence across the country. Laurent and Simone Gbagbo were later captured in April 2011, when they troops stormed into the Presidential residence and found them hiding in the basement. A month later, Ouattara assumed office and will be seeking re-election action on October, 2015.
Simone was one of the founders of the Ivorian Popular Front, the political party that ruled during her husband’s tenure as the President. She also served as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament when her husband was in office.
Last month, the court made up of judges and a panel of six jurors withdrew her voting rights and ability to vie for a public office for 10 years. Simone refused to acknowledge the charges leveled against her by the prosecutors and denied participation in the chaos.
Laurent and Simone Gbagbo
The former ex-first son, Michel Gbagbo has also been given a 5 years jail term. Their attorney says that both have been given five days to make their appeal. Laurent Gbagbo is currently detained in Netherlands as he waits for the International Criminal Court ruling on charges against humanity leveled against him. Cote dI’voire declined handing Simone over to the ICC, saying that the country’s national courts can handle her case locally.